Vintage Maternity Series - The 1950s

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Now for the era that defines “vintage maternity style” in the minds of many: the 1950s! Unlike during the 1930s and 1940s, fabric conservation and rationing was no longer a big design consideration and, like the other styles of the 1950s, maternity wear became more voluminous and feminine.

This post will ride the line of the late 1940s to early 1950s a bit because the maternity fashions were *very* similar. (I think we sometimes forget that fashion doesn't abruptly change just because a new decade begins on the calendar!)

Below I've paired a 1950s blouse with my 1940s repro trousers!

In the late 40s, maternity fashion followed regular fashion in its love for large shoulder pads, longer skirts, and fabric volume. This look stayed for a few years as, it seems, maternity fashion moved a bit slower.

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

However, elastics and stretch fabrics are still not in common use at this point. They started appearing a bit toward the later part of the decade, but most patterns and garments from the 50s I’ve seen still used other closures and techniques of making pregnancy garments adjustable and comfortable.

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

One of the garments I made with this silhouette was a muslin of scrap fabrics where I wanted to try out a pattern (The "Anne Adams" pictured above) for fit. As you can see, the top is pretty swingy and voluminous, a shape mimicked in coats and cardigans of the time, too. The Peter Pan collar, bow, and sleeve details add the feminine touches so popular in the late 40s-1950s. The pencil skirt included in the pattern, also in tune with the popular trends of the time, uses a series of buttons at the waist to account for a woman’s expanding waistline (much like the vintage garment below). 

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style
These features at the top of the skirts were never meant to be seen, so sometimes they don’t lay perfectly flat or aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing; they’re functional. When pregnant women of the time wore skirts, it was assumed that they would wear a blousey shirt on top, not tuck things in, so waistbands weren’t meant to be seen.

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

This is also important to keep in mind when you run across 1950s maternity skirts like the ones above with cut-out half-circles at the waist with ties or bands of fabric. They’re a bit weird to the modern eye! However, a woman would have worn a maternity slip under the skirt and blouse, and since skirts didn’t accompany tucked-in shirts for pregnant women, this cut-out would never have been seen (barring gusts of wind and the like!). It was yet another way that designers and makers accommodated a pregnant figure without stretch fabrics and elastic.

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

(Side note: I'm also intrigued by this Advance pattern and its wrap skirt. It looks like it could also be worn pre- or post-maternity as a stylish pencil skirt... I'll investigate/mock up further and share the results with you guys!)

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style
The tent-shaped, voluminous top and slim pencil skirt or cigarette pants seem to be the most trendy maternity silhouette of the 1950s. Pretty collars and sleeve details were popular, and I’ve even seen cocktail maternity sets for fancier occasions. In this decade, it still wasn’t “proper” to accentuate a pregnant figure, but pregnant women were making their way into the public sphere in the West in a new way. During this decade, Lucille Ball was the first pregnant woman to appear on television, and she’s fantastic inspiration for the cute and comfortable maternity fashions of the time. (Check out my vintage maternity Pinterest board for more inspiration!)

What other interesting features have you found on 1950s maternity garments or patterns? The tent-ish pregnancy silhouette seems to divide vintage wearers into distinct “love” or “hate” crowds; where do you fall?

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1940s

1940s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Time for part two of the Vintage Maternity Garment Series, this time featuring the 1940s! 

There was not a huge change in maternity styles from the late 1930s to early 1940s, but fabric rationing during WWII seems to have played into designs later.

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1930s

1930s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have been collecting and saving vintage maternity patterns in the vain aspiration that someday I would sew them all up and have a magnificent pregnancy wardrobe.

Currently, at about 7 months pregnant, I’ve finished just a pair of pants and two blouses, haha!  So the sewing plans are not going as well as I imagined. HOWEVER, in studying all of these patterns, making a couple of them, and supplementing my wardrobe with vintage garments, I have made some interesting discoveries about the construction of vintage maternity pieces that I wanted to share with you guys. For this, I’ll be looking at some patterns and garments from the 1930s-1960s and sharing interesting details from each of them. Today we’re starting with the 1930s!

DIY Vintage Table Linens with Stencil Revolution

Flashback Summer: DIY vintage style table linens, painting with stencils!

I recently got a new dining room table, which I LOVE. However, it is much larger than our previous table, and I didn't have any tablecloths long enough. When Stencil Revolution emailed to ask about collaborating, the dots connected and I knew the perfect way to fix this tablecloth dilemma!

I love the vintage stencily/painterly style tablecloths, and I thought it would be fun to give something similar a try for myself. What I love most about creating your own linens is the ability to pick exactly the colors you want.  I knew I wanted something jadeite green and red to go with my kitchen and dishes, but I also wanted to throw in some other colors to make it summery and bright!

1940s Maternity Style Video

Every once in a very great while, I make a video and upload it to Youtube. (Ha!) 

The one I just uploaded is featuring a maternity outfit I wore this weekend! It's made of true vintage, reproduction, and me-made garments.  It's RIDICULOUSLY comfortable and is going to be perfect when it gets hot this summer.

Versatility at Its Finest: Gingham Peasant Blouse

I wanted to feature this peasant blouse because it’s a fantastic type of garment for any vintage woman’s wardrobe. Its versatility and classic style makes it a really good silhouette to add to your closet!

I made mine from a vintage 1940s pattern, but peasant blouse patterns were one of those classic styles that were popular for decades (and still are). It should be easy to find such a pattern if you want to make one for yourself.